Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014: My Year of Multi-media

2014 in retrospect.

I'm going to break this down into subjects this year. Let's switch it up a bit. 2014 was the year of multimedia for me.

This year we said goodbye to our cat Peter. He was a good cat. We had him for years. He was rescued as a kitten up in a cabin with his brother Batty. He was one of the most chill cats you could ever know.

Crash on the left, Peter on the right.

In early to mid 2014 I started to re-write my first novel, Project C. I finished the novel in 2009 or so, subbed it to many places, got numerous rejections, trunked it and worked on new stories. Since 2009, I feel that I have grown as a writer, but the story was still viable. So in 2014 I picked it back up again. I got aggravated, dropped it again, then was encouraged to re-plot the bastard. I was also taught a hard lesson about letting characters and stories evolve thanks to the finale of How I Met Your Mother. So that was the majority of 2014`s writing.

Over the last 3 days I plugged ahead and wrote about 10k of stuff for this novel.

2015 is dedicated to finally finishing PROJECT C 2014 and making it the best it's ever been.

I wrote a short story I am quite proud of. More on that later, in 2015.

I shoved Re-Invention through the submission game again, but with no bites.

I'm tentatively plotting a short story collection. I just have to write it first.


Maybe I'll consider self-publishing something come new year.

This year I read The Death of Bunny Munro after years of wanting to read it. I adored it, but felt a little bad about it. I delved into new comic series with Alex + Ada and the Alice Cooper comics. I revisited Warren Ellis with Scars and Lazarus Churchyard, and gave Grant Morrison another chance with The Pro and Multiversity: Pax Americana.

I read critically acclaimed books A Fault in Our Stars and Gone Girl and thought little of them. I read self-published books about the triumph of the human soul in the face of diversity with Ghost No More and Daniel Wallock's short stories.
I'm not a modern music person. I don't listen to the radio. The only albums of 2014 I cared about were Weird Al's Mandatory Fun and Rishloo's Living as Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth. South Park brought out my favorite song of 2014 with "Push". Yes, really.

However, this year I also had Nick Cave stand yards away from me and sing Push the Sky Away. It was one of the best moments of my life.


Short version: Best movie of the year for me is The Lego Movie tied with Guardians of the Galaxy. Worst movie is No Good Deed.

I went to see two music documentaries in theatre. Super Duper Alice Cooper and Nick Cave's 20,000 Days on Earth. I saw movie versions of books I had read (Gone Girl, The Giver), I dropped movie versions of books I read (The Fault in our Stars). 

I decide to follow an anthro raccoon for 2 hours with zero regret. I left Godzilla in my living room to get a drink. The Lego Movie is AWESOME!

Tusk had me, then lost me, but yay for practical effects. 

Hyper-stylized sequels like 300: Rise of an Empire and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For didn't live up to their predecessors, but X-Men: Days of Future Past was probably the best X-Men movie we've had yet. How to Train your Dragon 2 is probably my favourite sequel of the year.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was good, but I liked the first one better.

Snowpiercer was a breath of fresh air. 

Knights of Badassdom made me snicker at times and I appreciated the practical effects. 

Gimme Shelter felt like it had huge chunks missing in the middle. Friendships grew waaaayy too fast in that story.

Jodorowsky's Dune was a great look at the process of making a movie and cultivating creativity.

The Sacrement had too much telling, not enough showing. WHY are these things creepy? They're praying? Why do you find that creepy, camera men? Why am I suppose to find it creepy? 

Open Windows was a fun thriller, with cool visuals.
The Good Lie was both harsh and funny. Well balanced and real good.

Book of Life was visually sumptuous but was way too reliant on pop-culture. But so pretty!

Big Hero 6 was great. It had so much heart. It could have just been Hiro and Baymax and I would have been fine. I didn't find his buddies particularly...nessisarry.

Stage Fright was cute, but the music was not memorable and the ending rather predictable.

Angelina Jolie and the costume design were the best things about Maleficent.

Live Die Repeat Edge of Tomorrow was a solid action movie. But I found myself wishing Eva Green was cast instead of Emily Blunt.

I liked the live action version of Kite and felt like a traitor to the anime. It shouldn't have worked, but it DID!

Cheap Thrills...I don't remember how that ended. I think I was multitasking when I watched that. Also I constantly get it mixed up with 13 Sins, which is basically the same premise.

The Muppets Most Wanted was fun! I like fun!

No Good Deed was probably the worst movie I saw in 2014. But, then again, I couldn't sit through The Purge: Anarchy because I was so bored.

Video Games
I got my gaming laptop and got lost in Mordor, Tamriel and Lodaeron. I started my Jedi training, I fought to claim the Stick of Truth, I defended House Forrester,  drowned hysterical sims, and I dodged and distracted zombies.

I also play tested a couple of games in their beta state. I'm not allowed to say which ones, or who for, but the games are available for purchase to the public. It was a really fun experience and I'd do it again if the chance arises.

I miss Mass Effect.

This is the first year that my niece and I don't have a Batman game to mainline over the break. It feels weird. Our tradition has been broken.

I did 4 arts. Three of them were fanart, one was a manipulation for a friend, one was template-based. I totally called it. I knew 2014 would be a bad year for art. But I already have art to make in 2015 so things are looking up.

So, here's to a great 2015.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Book Review: Ghost No More by Ceecee James

Ghost No More: A MemoirGhost No More: A Memoir by CeeCee James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would have given it 3.5 stars if Goodreads would allow such a thing.

It's difficult to write about these kind of books because who am I to judge someone's pain or adversity?

I liked this. It's a million times better than A Child Called "It" because things actually make sense, seem to have a coherent timeline and the things poor Ceecee endured are, sadly, believable. In this story, there are no pregnant women making chlorine gas or child-stabbings.

But like A Child Called "It", I have one similar critique: why was the mother like this? She had health issues and I am curious as to what those were. But unlike A Child Called "It", there are hints of what Ceecee's mother had gone through to make her the woman she turned out to be; Health, abuse, molestation, and possibly mental issues. I don't want to presume though, it's not my place.

I think this would be a good read for anyone trying to work through their own abusive past.

I'm glad Ceecee found happiness and peace and I wish her all the best.

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review: Right-Hearted: Finding What's Right With a Wrong-Sided Heart by Daniel Wallock

Right-Hearted: Finding What's Right With a Wrong-Sided HeartRight-Hearted: Finding What's Right With a Wrong-Sided Heart by Daniel Wallock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is more like it.

Previously I had reviewed Daniel Wallock's short story Breathe: A Very Short Story and I didn't care for it. I ended the review hoping that this would be a better story.

Thankfully, it was.

The quality of the writing was much improved over Breathe, and there was an actual story here, not just a connect-the-dots of events.

It wasn't mind-blowing or anything, and many things were hinted at, vague, or just dropped. I still have so many unanswered questions. Daniel alludes to fleeting, but abusive romances in his past and I felt there was probably a goldmine of wonderful stories there. I'm not trying to go for the salacious details, but maybe the trial-by-fire would make the reader appreciate his time with the young lady in this book a bit more.

Also, for all his health problems, they're never really focused on. Again, I don't want the grimy dirt of human suffering, but it's more impressive that he play sports like a bad-ass when we actually get to read about his many near-death experiences.

I hope all this is coming out in a actual autobiography some day because I would be very interested to truly get to know Daniel, and not just what he picks and chooses what to tell us.

Daniel wants his stories, all of which are free, to be downloaded 100,000 times. Help make it happen for him. It costs nothing and you'd be helping a young man's dream come true.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Review: Breathe: A Very Short Story

Breathe: A Very Short Story
Breathe: A Very Short Story by Daniel Wallock

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

As you probably have all heard, I am a chronically ill little letter of the alphabet. I was born with (Among other things) Tetralogy of Fallot, which basically means there was a hole in two of the chambers in my heart and the oxidized blood with mixing with the un-oxidized blood. When I was 14 months old, I had several heart surgeries to correct it.

When I heard about Daniel Wallock's goal to give away 100,000 copies of his e-books, out of both a sense of congenital camaraderie and "yay, free books!" I hunted them down.

I read Breathe because it was short. Unfortunately it's not very good. The writing is clunky, and the story is predictable. I knew it was autobiographical but by the end of the first sentence I thought to myself "The last line is going to be And I was that boy... isn't it?"

The wording is repetitious and there's no empathy because everything is glossed over.

Everyone's afraid for him because he's slow and sickly but...they don't realize he's skipping school? Do they not know where he is?

When he wakes from surgery he's covered in blood. That's...not usually how that works. You'd think the doctors would try to practice a little more decorum, especially for a terrified 13 year old boy.

Then his parents sent him away. Where?

I know I sound harsh, and I'm sorry. I'm glad Daniel Wallock made it and is following his dream and I sincerely wish him all the best. I really, really do. But this is how I feel.

However, I downloaded all of his books and I will likely read all of them, with hope that they get better. From what little I skimmed of Right-Hearted Finding What's Right With a Wrong-Sided Heart, they do.

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This review will not be entertaining.

While the writing was good and I stuck it out because I genuinely wanted to know what happened, I didn't like this book.

The characters, even when trying to be likable, were very unlikable. To the point I only liked the lawyer, and tolerated the sister.

There were too many twists, just for the sake of having twists, and I just got tired and mad.

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Review: Warren Ellis Double Feature

 ScarsScars by Warren Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last night I went on a bit of a Warren Ellis adventure. I watched his documentary Captured Ghosts which delved into his childhood, skirted into his teen years in which he was barely conscious, then talks about his career as a writer and patron saint of the Internet. It would make a good double feature with the Harlan Ellison doc, Dreams With Sharp Teeth.

I'm more generous about calling myself a fan of a writer versus a fan of an actor or director, artist or musician because I can gobble up an album in 20-30 minutes, I can watch a movie in 90, I can watch two in about three hours. It's quicker for me to judge multiple portions of works of art or film of music than it is for comics or novels. If I like one book out of 12 written by someone, I call myself a fan until proven otherwise.

All I've ever read of Warren Ellis' work was Transmetropolitan and I adore it, so I call myself a fan. I've never read The Authority or StormWatch or anything else, but I do follow his Twitter and blog and I have several of his works on my To Read list.

Then, the documentary brought up Scars and I hunted it down.

Scars is a well constructed, tightly contained story about a cop hunting down a child murderer. It's a case of true horror, gruesome and terrible but unlike the shock-for-shock's-sake mess that is Garth Ennis' CROSSED or The Walking Dead, it's the realism that makes it terrifying. Sick bastards like this exist, will always exist and we never know who or where until it's far, far too late.

The rest of this will contain spoilers. You've been warned!

I think what I liked the most is that the story is so very contained and nothing is over-explained. We're left to assume that the drive by that left Cain a broken man was due to him being a detective, but it's never spelled out for us. We're not sure if Cain was the intended target, or if the person caught in the path of the bullet was.

The ending is left up to interpretation, though in my opinion it's quite obvious that Cain's partner shot him, otherwise we would have gone through the fallout.

I wish it was longer than six issues, I feel some things happened too fast and Cain could and should have fallen even farther. But over-all, a very good story that I recommend, if you have the stomach for it.

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Meme: 10 Books That Changed My Life

I was tagged by Ashe Sedai on Facebook.

10 books that changed me, or had a profound effect on me. (In no particular order)

1 - Animal Farm by George Orwell
"Must work harder..."

This is my un-offical favorite book. I don't remember how I heard about Animal Farm, but something about it intrigued me when I was younger, so I hunted it down. I loved it, it was horrifying! A brilliant story, amazingly quotable, and it really stuck with me. I have, in my lifetime, purchased the book four times. Currently my home has two copies of it. I recommend it to everyone.

2 - Poison Elves by Drew Hayes
"Say goodnight to the Sandman."
Poison Elves fed my sense of high-fantasy and kept it alive. It directly influenced Elven Lacryment in both tone and aesthetics. The little therapy session between Parinatchin and Luse still grabs me by the throat after all these years. We lost a visionary when Drew passed away. Since then, they brought Poison Elves back but it's not even close to what it used to be.

3 - DooM by Dafydd ab Hugh
"(something something something) Enervated (something something)"

This was the first book I ever read because it was so bad it was ...well...not good, but reading it was like watching a bad movie with friends. I enjoyed the badness. I had never done that before.

4 - The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave
"I just found this world a hard place to be good in"  

I just finished this book a few weeks ago. I liked it a lot, and I learned that no matter how vile and despicable the actions of your protagonist, you, the reader, can still have a good time. Reading this book is like having your drunk fratboy friend tell you all the horrible things he did while he was drunk and in a frat. Filthy, shameless, vicarious fun.

For anyone who's sick of the internet screaming about Social Justice, safe spaces, misogyny, victim blaming and slut-shaming and just want to revel in horrible things, this book is a haven.

5 - HOUSE of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.
"We all create stories to protect ourselves."
This book legitimately frightened me. I don't want to say anymore. Read this book.
I tried his second book but only got to page two. It seemed MZD believed his own hype. Once is a brilliant fluke, twice is try-hard.
I need to re-read this and see if it holds up.

6 - No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clarke
SCREW THIS BOOK! I HATE this book. I despise this book. I loathe this book. It's terrible. This book was the first book I hate-read. I would not let this book beat me. You'd think life would be too short to spend on bad books. Roll your eyes, drop it and move on to better things. But no. No, this book wasn't good or bad enough for me to abandon it. I had to finish it. If I didn't, it would have won. It would be sitting there in a pile of unloved books all smug and unassuming.

You might have noticed I'm putting quotes in each of these listings. I wanted to put a quote about how "un-fucking-belivably lovable" the main character was, but it turned out that was a different book! I can remember no quote about this book. At all.

7 - John Dies At the End by David Wong
“I tried to say something cool, wound up stammering something like, “WANNA YOU WANNA WEENIE ME?” The end kind of trailed off in a shrill, choking warble.”

My favourite book I have ever read. Hilarious, terrifying. It's basically HOUSE of Leaves written by a 10 year old on sugar. I totally now want a HOUSE of Leave/JDatE crossover. You know Johnny Truant, David Wong and John Cheese would be BFFs. MAKE THIS HAPPEN, INTERNET.

8 - Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

"“Since we place so much value on human life, why do we glorify, in a perverse sort of way, the extinguishment of life? The answer to that question, whatever it is, is at least a partial answer to why people continue to be fascinated by Hitler, Jack the Ripper—Manson.”"

The first biography I ever read. The first true crime I ever read. My first real exposure to Charles Manson. My copy is from the 70's, as it was my father's copy. It's falling apart. I should maybe get a new copy, but I have no idea if newer editions have amendments or new content. Would be interesting to see if there are major differences.

  9 - The Maxx by Sam Kieth
"Sorry, I know you're just trying to look out for me, like you always do."

The last issue made me cry. That's all I need to say at this point.

10 - World War Z by Max Brooks
"Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells."

This book was actually purchased for a friend but I ended up reading it on an airplane. I devoured it, then I made everyone else read it. This book kicked off an epidemic of reading in my family that lasted over a year and spanned several books.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Upscale Downsizing.

I have thrown in the towel when it comes to My sites were hacked beyond repair, with medical spam injected in pages, in searches. URL re-directs when viewing with an iPhone, it was terrible.

I will miss Wordpress's flexibility and super customization, and all the widgets and themes and ease of use, but the spammy, hacked head-ache wasn't worth it.

So, I've made re-direct to, and I'm going to have to do make a back-up of Elven Lacryment and do the same there.

Here's where it gets important: In a few days I will be removing the FRIENDS 4 EVER!!!! website. I will make all the comics available on, but soon the site, as it is now, will be gone.

I'll post more as the moment approaches, stay tuned.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Book Review: The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave

The Death of Bunny MunroThe Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On July 1st, I saw Nick Cave live in concert, on July 2nd, I saw 20,000 Days on Earth, the Nick Cave documentary. This month I have consumed vast quantities of Nick Cave's oeuvre.

Artistically, when it comes to the written word, he is probably my favorite. I love his blend of dark humour and sex & violence and class. He's a literate, well-versed bastard.

I believe it's a good thing to not mindlessly consume and praise everything produced by a thing you love. I believe it's good to judge the individual works on their own. For example, I'm a fan of the Silent Hill series, but don't think all the games are even that good. I kind of wish I had never spent money on Alice Cooper's Special Forces album. I can't stand Katatonia's early work. I don't even like all of Nick Cave's work.

But, I think I like this book so much because of the author. I think if someone else had written a book with a protagonist exactly like Bunny, I would have loathed it.

Because I know I should despise Bunny Munro, he is a horrible, horrible, horrible (I can't say "horrible" enough!) human stain on the Earth. I feel Nick Cave probably tossed as much as he could into and onto the character to make you hate him and want to see him suffer.

Just off the top of my head, I can think of at least three or four other characters from other novels which have done far less terrible actions or had been far better people than Mr. Munro and I have judged them, or just simply disliked them or rolled my eyes. Like Johnny Truant from House of Leaves or Astrid from White Oleander .

And yet I felt pity for him, not contempt or hate.

Because, Bunny felt like one of those characters that was a part of Nick Cave, like the male character in the song Dianna or Jubilee Street, Henry Lee or Saint Huck as opposed to, say...Robert Moore or Stagger Lee. And you could tell Nick Cave was having fun writing it. Consequently I pictured Bunny looking like Nick Cave, which influenced my affection for this book, or at least my willingness to let certain abhorrent behaviors slide.

Besides, Bunny gets everything he deserves.

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Nick Cave Concert "Review"

I have attended a wide eclectic range of concerts. I've seen Paula Abdul in the height of her fame in the very early 90's, I've seen Weird Al twice, Blue Man Group, Alice Cooper three times, Stabbing Westward, Green Day, Evanescence, Rolling Stones, Don Felder, Cheap Trick, AC/DC, Alanis Morrisette, Sarah McLachlan, Machinehead, Sloan and Dethklok.

Nick Cave is by far the best concert I've ever attended.

In February I purchased two tickets for Nick Cave, one for me and one for my nephew. Unfortunately circumstances resulted in my nephew being unable to attend so I was left with a spare ticket. I asked everyone I knew, but no one could go with. So I went alone.

I had great seats, looking down at the stage, there was no way anyone could block my view. Disability seating, people! (Listen, let's make a pact right now, readers. You wanna see a thing or go to Disneyland? Take me with you, get the perks my friendship offers. Quicker lineups, better seats, yes.)
My seat.

So, the opening act, Mark Lanegan, comes out for a bit. He's...fine. Like an emo Leonard Cohen. He comes, does some songs, some covers, then leaves.

Then Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds come out. They begin with a few from his new album, We No Who U R, which is one of my favorites of his new stuff, then on to Jubilee Street, which builds into this absolute craziness.

Can I just say Warren Ellis (No, not the Transmetropolitan Warren Ellis, apparently the two Warren Ellis' (Ellises? Ellisi?) get that a lot) is a master? During certain parts of certain songs I found myself watching him. At the end of Jubilee Street he just flings his fiddle bow off who knows where. Pretty sure it got lodged in the lighting scaffolding.

All the while, Cave is a jumping, flailing ball of energy and charisma. Cave also randomly *Mic drops!* and is very careless with mic stands. Poor roadie had to keep coming out and standing it back up. By the time Nick Cave got to Tupelo, he was literally wading into the audience. He'll do this a few times during the show.

There was some fun, easy back and forth with the audience. At once point he pulls a guy up on stage
"That's a great shirt," He says to the guy, who's black shirt has a giant kitten on it. "Now fuck off."

Then they launched into Red Right Hand, Papa Won't Leave You Henry then Mermaids, which once you get past the dick joke in the beginning, is a beautiful song.

Then Mark Lanegan came out to sing The Weeping Song with Nick and poor Lanegan is so stiff and "I'm just gonna hold on to the microphone stand for dear life!" and Cave is such a ball of spastic energy that Cave had nothing to work off of, so Mark was pretty much ignored by Cave throughout the entire song. Sorry Mark, you don't have Blixa Bargeld's ...anything. But it was a good try.

They played Lyre of Orpheus, Into My Arms, People Ain't No Good and From Her to Eternity, once again wading into the audience.

Then they played The Mercy Seat and I actually got choked up. The Mercy Seat is the second or third song of Cave's I've ever heard (The first being Loverman, and the second possibly being The Weeping Song.) but it is by far my favorite Nick Cave song. The instrumentation is just so strange and drilling and the song seems to go on forever and it's so full of doom because of the subject matter and I just love it.

But it seemed Cave was having mic troubles and he kept cutting out at "And anyway I told the truth", and he threw the mic down and the song ended in a tattered wail. Then Cave talked to someone back stage for a second, which is what lead me to think it was mic or sound problems. And I don't even care. It was totally and completely The Mercy Seat.

Then they went into Stagger Lee, which is fun as all hell, with the gun-shot instrumentation, the thunder, the screaming, the swearing. It actually gave me a new appreciation for the song.

For the encore they did God is In The House, The Ship song, then he took requests! The request that was honoured was Do You Love Me? because of course it was.

Finally he ended with Push the Sky Away, which again made me choke up because it's a very emotional song. It's one of those, at least in my interpretation, don't give up songs, and we all could use more of those.

It was an amazing concert.

This belongs to me. I purchased it. If you know me, you know why. No, not the penis.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can count the number of books and movies that had made me cry on both hands, though I don't need all 9.5 of my fingers to do it. This book will not join those ranks. It doesn't even come close.

The Fault in Our Stars centers around two pretentious, teenagers as they suffer together through a variety of cancer-caused maladies (or Side-effects as our narrator Hazel likes to call them.) and fall in love, knowing their time together is finite.

So, we're stuck with these characters who fall basically instantly in love and just pontificate how much they love each other and how hot they both are. Then they bond over books and video games and "Gee doesn't cancer suck?" "Totes.".

Then they mock Disneyland and go to Amsterdam where they learn the author of the book they bonded over is a dill-hole. I like to imagine Van Houten is John Green's self-insert. "How do you like me now you overly romantic, sappy teenage girls!? WAAHAHAHA!!!"

It's not all bad. There is some good, non-pretentious imagery, like that Hazel named one of her breathing apparatus Phillip (As an aside, my prosthetic leg's name is Leggy, my stump is named Stumpy. My wheelchair is named Brookhaven.) and how she likes to imagine another device is a dragon sleeping by her side. There is some harsh reality too, like how no one visits when a person is gross and sick but once they die, the Facebook mourners come in droves, or that, simply, life isn't fair. (Or, that The World Isn't a Wish Granting Machine which they say more than Uncle Ben goes on about Great Power and just shut up, shut up, SHUT UP, SHUT UP! Get new material, kids! See? Even when I try to give this book the benefit of the doubt I find something annoying.)

But when these two lovers get together the lame pretentiousness skyrockets, to the point where neither character talks like a human being. Hazel talks like a 30 year old trying to talk like a young, sick, Eff-the-world! teenager. And, to be honest, she was a bitch. Cancer or no cancer she would spout out 'wise' words that were actually really bitchy and cruel. I rolled my eyes several times.

And Gus...oh boy, Gus. Gus spoke like...Like no human teenage boy speaks. Even by teenage pretension levels he's off the charts.

So, this resulted in the problem of my favorite character being Issac, their mutual friend who's story was actually way more compelling. He loses his eyesight then the teenage love of his life flat out says "I can't do this" and he cares more about HER and how her abandonment feels than the loss of his sight. There's something there, something to be said about loss and abandonment and the weakness of the healthy when confronted by the harsh realities of living with a sick person. Also he spoke like a freaking human being.

I really, really wanted this book to end in a way that would slam home just how unfair life is. I wanted it to end with Gus dying from a car-accident or a mugging or something. I wanted him to fight so hard to be with Hazel and then have them lose it all by random happenstance. I wanted THAT unfairness. That is how I wanted this book to end.

Which is funny, because that's kind of how My Sister's Keeper ends and I hated that, but for certain reasons. (Reasons that concern Right to Die and Die With Dignity laws, which I believe in.)

Because of my health issues, I've thought a lot about dying and death, concepts which are neither romantic or sexy. I get that these two characters know they have little time in their world, and they're trying to pack as much living as they can in their short time, but there are better stories about human suffering than this. More human stories with more human characters.

I wish the movie 50/50 was a novel. THAT, is one great cancer story.

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

What I Learned From a Disappointing Series Finale

On Monday, the sitcom How I Met Your Mother came to its nine season conclusion.

I have thoughts.

There will be spoilers.

You have been warned.

I have so many thoughts that it took me 4 days to marinate on them and untangle how I really felt, what is applicable, and what isn't. I'll skip something things, gloss over what I didn't mind because all in all, I only have one huge sticking point.
First of all, let's get two things out of the way.

Thing number 1: I love Robin/Barney.

Thing number 2: I HATE Ted.

I remember the exact moment I hated Ted. It was in the episode "Something Old", where Marshal and Lily are packing up to move to Rome and want to throw away an old bean-bag chair, but Ted fights them on it for all the memories it contains. Said chair had been with them since college. But here's the thing, Ted.

IT'S NOT YOUR CHAIR. IT WAS NEVER YOUR CHAIR. And I know it wasn't the chair itself that was Ted's issue, it was what the chair symbolized but to me, it just came across as yet another instance where Ted whines and complains until his friends rearrange their lives to make him feel better. From then on I decided Ted was a sentimental man-child and I just continued watching the show for his friends.

Even though I hated Ted, I still wanted to see him happy. Even cynical me likes every now and then to see love conquer all and he believed so hard in love that I wanted it for him.

While the writers and the actress might have over-written The Mother a little too perfectly, a little too on-the-nose, I did like her a lot. She was talented, caring, warm, funny without being quirky or a Manic-Pixie-Dreamgirl. I did find her perfect for Ted and the group. It was right. ("Number 31, a beautiful name, is it French?")
And I actually didn't mind that she died. They loved each other, they had a life, they had kids.

I also didn't mind that Barney and Robin divorced. They tried, it didn't work. I didn't even mind Barney back-sliding into his womanizing ways, mostly because all the other characters pointed out how sad it was.

What I had a problem with was the last 3 minutes.

I hated how the kids basically said "Dad, go bone Robin. Psh it's been 6 years since mom died." and then him appearing at her window with that damn blue French Horn.

Here is why I hate it: I understand they recorded the ending to the entire series back in season 2 when they feared cancellation and wanted to put a clean ending on the series. I understand that. But by sticking to the same ending they envisioned in season 2, they invalidate all the growth any and all characters went through in the time between season 2 to season 9.

HOW many times had Ted let go of Robin or vice-versa? How many times has Ted realized crazy stunts don't work on Robin? It was clear Robin at least wasn't the same person she was when the stupid horn trick might have worked, and that Ted wants a version of Robin from 15 years prior.

It was sad, cheap, and did tremendous disservice to all the characters. Only Lily and Marshal came out of the finale completely unscathed.

But, the finale was something that I, personally, needed.

The night before the episode I was working on Project C's re-write and I was pondering a character who we meet early in the story, then see again later under completely different circumstances. They are a different person. The way Project C's re-write is going, those circumstances will never happen, and I was reluctant to let it go.

Now, thanks to the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, I understand the true meaning of Kill Your Darlings. The creators of HIMYM had a vision, a set story they wanted to tell with a nice neat dream ending, character development be damned!

I will not do that. Project C 2009 is not Project C 2014. I will respect my characters. I will follow their personal growth. I will keep them in character without keeping them in boxes. I will burn the remains. I will learn from the past and from things that should have been better than they were.

Thank you, HIMYM. Thank you for the laughs the lessons, and the example of what not to do.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A way into the Castle...

Back in November I wrote Project 10x10 and submitted it to the publishers. It was the most difficult writing project I had ever undertaken because it meant a lot to me for various reasons which I'll get to in a moment.

Yesterday they revealed the top 25 entries, and more importantly, the top 5 semi-finalists. Those who move to the next round. One of those five will be the author selected for the open call. I was not in the top 25.

I've had over 12 hours to process the disappointment and believe me I was disappointed. For the first few hours after the reveal I was in a constant state of upset. A weird numbness coupled with a stomach ache. But I can talk about it now.

I've been rejected before, of course. And I move on, oh well, wasn't meant to be...

But Project 10X10 was my entry to The Dark Crystal Author Quest Open Call.

I'm sure it's all clicked into place for you now, hasn't it? Why this project was so intense?

If you know anything about me you know my fanaticism regarding The Dark Crystal. I have been writing Dark Crystal Fanfiction since 2000. I hosted the fanfiction archive, I was an active RPer in original tDC RPs on Y!Groups, I have been to the Jim Henson Exhibit twice. I have seen skekZok in person. I own Dark Crystal books, comics, novels, artbooks. I am the Dark Crystal expert in my circle. The Dark Crystal was my first and oldest fandom.

So it was difficult to write because the pressure was enormous. I was so keenly aware of not only how many other people were writing, but what this story meant. It was a chance to contribute and give back to a legacy that has given me so much joy and hope and reason to keep going.

I was over the freakin' moon to learn it was a request to write a prequel and not that weird "Oh no the crystal cracked again everyone's back gotta heal the crystal again!" sequel that just didn't seem to want to die. Apparently it had indeed died? Good.

Instead, we were asked to write about "The Gathering of the Gelfling", when the 7 clans meet up, learn of the prophecy and carve the Wall of Destiny. I could get behind that. And how!

For a brief moment I was a little concerned that participating in this conflicted with my fandom ethics. I hate it when people make money off of fanart and generally money from fanfiction is frowned upon. But the Hensons were asking the people to do it so, other than the idle worry I'd be labelled a hypocrite, I waved the worry aside.

People chided that it was a rights grab and idea mining but that didn't bother me because essentially it's fanfiction. If I wrote it I'd never be able to get money from it anyway. Besides, the Jim Henson Company is the one entity that I will say "Shut up and take my ideas!"

Likely my ideas were too dark. Dark like a garthim's carapace.

So, that was Project 10X10. It was one heck of a ride. I want to thank my proof-readers: Monday, Raphael and Marissa, Dopp, Ruari, Ali and Kippur for all your help! Thank you all so much!

I have posted my submission on my blog and you can read it here. Enjoy my take on the world of Thra.

ETA: For ease of use, here's a PDF version.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Absolute Write Blog Chain - When the Q's Away the Drow Will Play.

(There will be some foul language. He does that a lot.)


Holy shit. HOLY SHIT! I have free reign over this place? FUCK YEAH! Ok, ok, let me just get myself grounded and focused for a second. Besides, you're probly fuckin confused about what's goin on right? Yeah, thought so.

I'm Drow Konran, one of Q's older characters and, the way she tells it, the first to 'talk' or 'wake up' or whateverthefuck she calls it. I'm here cuz Q did that whole Absolute Write thing again. This time, the character gets to write about the author.

Not sure why she gave me the keys to the kingdom. I ain't even in any of her books. Probly the whole first to talk deal.

So, I'm sposed to talk, er, write about Q. Ha!!!!! She'll probly start to regret this. Considering all the shit she puts us through, I could go on and on about shitloads of embarrassing shit. Kinda tempted to test the boundries of this whole freedom thing.......

But I guess I'm getting off topic. So, let's see....

How am I sposed to do this anyway? Is it sposed to be like a book or do I describe her or what?

It was a dark and stormy night and an isolated geek called Q was staring into the screen of her laptop or e-reader or the tv or FUCK THIS IS HARD! I never said I was a writer!!!! Specially not with such a fuckin' dull subject. My problem is that I love to talk about myself, and Q doesn't do much. So that's why I keep getting bored.

She's way too much of a loner for my liking, the girl barely does ANYTHING but whatever. Not me missin out on stuff.

You know what? Fuck this. The lust for power has worn off. I need a fuckin' cigarette and LOVELACE is on my Netflix queue.

OK FINE! I'll at least see if I can find a replacement. Hang on a sec.

I'm back. With a cigarette.

And nope. No takers. Ain't that pathetic?

C'mon, c'mon I can do this. Just 100 words about Q....

...50...50 words....

or letters. Yeah, Tweet about Q.

Actually now that I think about it. I think I know why I'm the one doing this. Outta everyone in her little red headed skull, I'm one of the ones who gets this whole fourth wall thing better than most. Which is kinda fucked up when you think about it. Not like I'm on the Q-Niverse-Defense-Force. Not really.

The Q-Niverse-Defense-Force by the way is what keeps Q sane and all that good shit. The ...what's that word...the thing you do that makes you feel better, when you work out your shit...? CATHARSIS! Thank you Dictonary! Yeah, well, anyway, some of us are a bit about the whole thing. I ain't.

C'mon brain, think of one nice thing about Q.


She has good taste in entertainment. Video games and comics and movies and shit. We're both reading all the Game of Thrones books. We both want Dani on the Iron Throne.

She gives me things. Thanks to her imagination, my apartment has shitloads of cool shit. You should see my entertainment system! So she keeps most of us comfortable. Sure it shuts me up and keeps me from complaining,but whatever. I have swords. She gives me swords. Because she's a responsible parent.

Damnit, dunno what to say anymore. I'm not exactly Shakespeare, but I guess you figured that out on your own, right?

Bottom line is she's not all bad and I'm fully aware that I wouldn't exist without her.

I wonder if other characters had as much trouble with this as I did. I think I'll go find out. No one said I wasn't allowed to reply to this chain.

orion_mk3 - (link to post)
Sneaky Devil - (link to post)
Anarchic Q - (link to post)
ishtar'sgate - (link to post)
Sixpence - (link to post)
pyrosama - (link to post)
Angyl78 - (link to post)
meowzbark - (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes - (link to post)
SamanthaLehane - (link to post)

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Book Review - A Guardian of Innocents by Jeff Orton

A Guardian of InnocentsA Guardian of Innocents by Jeff Orton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the first self-published book I purchased for my Kindle. I found it on the AbsoluteWrite forums.

The premise intrigued me and I liked the first 3/4ths of the book a lot. Other than some formatting and spelling hiccups, I was right there along for the ride. Some of the graphic torture was just so brutal and visceral. I winced, I cringed, I re-read the descriptions because I'm a little bit sick like that.

Then the story took a sharp derail into...I don't even know what. It pulled real-life tragedies into it that, while I understand this story takes place "in our world", I raised an eyebrow at this particular development. And when said development was expanded upon, I just burst out laughing and I groaned. Then I told everyone who would listen (Room mate, best friend, nephew) "You would not believe what happens in this book!"

But by that point I was almost finished the book, so I kept with it.

And yet, there's room for a sequel which I kind of want to see. I want to see the final resolution to this all. There's potential for the conclusion to be absolutely epic, and I want to read a worthy last act.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Hopscotch & Hummingbirds.

I hadn't really written anything since October 2013, or November 2013 if you consider the editing of Project 10x10. Sure, I've been whining about how I should write something, but I hadn't been writing. At first I figured I was just decompressing from the tribulation that was Project 10x10 but 2.5 to 3 months isn't decompression, it's laziness and avoidance.

"Oh, I should work on that thingy..."

"I should start that re-write of Project C..."

"I haven't touched Amethyst Breed in months..."

"I should look into self-publishing Blood in the Water..."

"...something, something...Necropolis...?"


While I'm not one of those people who believes a writer should write every day or else they're not a writer, my lack of gumption was causing me to question my dedication.

Then, last week, out of absolutely nowhere I decided to put pencil to paper aaaaaaand...

Redesign ShadowWolf, the (arguably) main character of that weird stuck-in-limbo story Elven Lacryment. Every few years, it seems ShadowWolf pops up with a slightly new look. Nothing drastic, just a new outfit.

Then I began evaluating some narration glitches and plot holes, patched a few of them up, and wrote a few pages worth of the manuscript. What I didn't write, I planned out to be expanded upon later.

Riding high from long overdue progress I emailed my editor and we worked out that there needs to be a thorough scrub of Next to Godliness, so she is working on going through it, slashing out unnecessary subplots.

Then I took a good, hard look at Project C.

The problems with Project C are legion. It's overwrought and needlessly dramatic in its prose, I was in constant pain and bed-ridden when I wrote it so my judgement might have been more than a little off. Things didn't click right, I didn't like whole swaths of it in the middle. It was my first novel, and I wrote it in something like 4 months or so, but hey, I couldn't get out of bed so what else was I going to do? I've grown as a writer, maybe I should just give up on this story, even though I still feel I owe it to the characters for getting me through tough times? Or maybe it's just a stupid story that will never ring true.

Finally, after weeks and weeks of self-torment, doubt, two false starts and retooling, and with heavy guidance and blunt discussion with a friend, I finally began Project C 2014. I am only on the third page, or 742 words in, but already I can feel a massive change. The protagonist alone seems like a wholly different character, much more malleable, far less arrogant and metaphorically bullet-proof. He's not as show-boating. The first time, he's an idealist who slowly became broken because he let the world corrupt him. I think in this version, he starts out broken and rebuilds himself. Does he rebuild himself for the better? I don't know yet.

I'm concerned though, that I'll still cannibalize parts of the old draft and that this might be a mistake.  So I sort of want to put the old draft, with it's old premise, on my external hard drive, then delete all the copies off my laptop. Because I know I'll be too lazy to constantly have to fetch my external. Of course, there's a flaw with this plan as I also have backups resting comfortably in several email accounts so I can access them from any place with an internet connection.

So between cutting up Next to Godliness, giving ShadowWolf a new outfit which better suits her disposition, and Project C 2014, it seems now is a rather transformative time for my stories.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Absolute Write January Blog Chain - Retro Gaming Icons.

This post is part of the January 2014 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Retro Gaming Icons”
This month's prompt:
Retro Gaming Icons

Whatever your definition of retro, gaming, or icons, now is the time to get your classic game on. Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, the Atari 2600, Tim Schafer, Baldur's Gate...any game or gaming-related icon is up for grabs! Or, if you like, invent your own! Entries may be of any genre so long as they are 1000 words or less.


Up until then, I had played Commander Keen, Jazz Jackrabbit, Mario Bros 1-3, BattleToads, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, Dino Hunter, Tappers, Sneakers, Jill of the Jungle, and various arcade games. DooM was so unlike anything I had played before, except of course for Wolfenstein, which I didn't like as much because you had to kill dogs.

When I was a kid, DooM was my heroin.

DooM brought my family together. Neighborhood kids came to our house because we had DooM. Family came from the States and we played DooM.  I was scared playing alone so I would listen to Weird Al and play DooM. The sun would glare into the screen so we'd throw a bed-sheet over the monitor and ourselves and play DooM.

I get the full version of DooM and after encountering my first Cacodeamon, I scream, manage to kill it, then pause and run out the room. Clearly I wasn't expecting that.

Dad got sick with cancer and upgraded the hell out of his computer and we played DooM. Dad's second to last Christmas, and he buys me DooM II and the Strategy Guide. (The last three games he got me, for the curious, were Primal Rage, DooM II and Warcraft II). I still have that guide, with all the levels of Arch Viles bookmarked.

I would spend hours going through levels trying to make monsters fight each other. I would warp specifically to Arch Vile levels.

When DooM III came out, I dragged a small child all through the mall just so I could find a copy, then I plunked down 80 dollars for the special edition. I have never done that for any game before or since. I don't think I ever will again.

DooM helped to inspire my sprite comic which I had for a time. Good times.

I saw the movie in theaters and it was one of the worst things I had ever seen. But at least the sets were not bad.

I read two of the novels and found them terrible, but in such an enjoyable way. I started reading the third one, but I'm currently preoccupied with books that are actually good.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="309"] It's A really, it's a soup![/caption]


I lent my nephew 20 bucks, he pays me back by buying the DooM III BFG Edition. It's so much more difficult when you can't IDKFA & IDDQD all over the place.

My family plays a game sometimes where we take sticky notes and put words from a category on them and stick them to our forehead, and we have to guess what we are. It was my turn, and the category was "Things Q likes." (it's harder than it sounds.). Among the choices were Valtiel, Pepsi, Game of Thrones, and of course, DooM. The person who got DooM was having an impossible time guessing it. They knew it was a video game and kept guessing "Silent Hill". We all told them "You're going to feel really stupid when you see what it is." and I said "I've played a lot of games in my life." We both played this game when I was a kid so I thought for sure they would get it.
They didn't, and you could see their disappointment in themselves. They knew they should have known that.

Bottom line is, DooM will always have my love and respect. Even if you don't consider how much it did for gaming, for me alone, DooM was like another parent. It was always there when I wanted it to be there.
IDCLIP is for cowards. IDSPISPOPD all the way.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="298"] IDSPISPOPD! (Now I can Walk Through Walls!) Yes you want this shirt. You want it so hard.[/caption]


orion_mk3 - (link to post)
Ralph Pines - (link to post)
meowzbark - (link to post)
pyrosama - (link to post)
Anarchic Q - You Are Here!
AndreF - (link to post)


Monday, 6 January 2014

Art: Dvorak Seti - Jedi Gelfling in Training

Holy crap, 6 days into the new year and I actually made art!

Dvorak Seti - Gelfling Jedi in Training by AnarchicQ on deviantART

Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013 In Review

2012 was a year of being proactive. I wrote, I traveled, I saw people I've never met in person, or haven't seen in years.

2013 was the year of waiting.
Sitting around, waiting for things to happen.
For editors and publishers to get back to me, for inevitable tragedy.

Sadly we lost two close family members this year, my very loved aunt Leah-Rae lost her life to her second bout with cancer, surrounded by loved ones, and my grandfather succumbed to age with dignity, to be with my grandmother.

It was also a year of re-arrangement.
My grandfather and grandmother's belongings were brought from Seattle to here in Vancouver, Canada and we now have a lot of their antiques, giving them a loving home. We cleaned out a lot of clutter, and in general made our house more comfortable. More of my own furniture matches now.

I spent this year waiting for publishers to get back to me. I kept trying to tell myself I was going to re-write Project C but I still haven't even attempted it. I poked at Elven Lacryment with little progress. I didn't write a lot, but I did submit a lot. However, in July I started Project 10X10. I completed it, got feedback, re-edited it, submitted it, now more waiting.

I heard back from Harper Voyager, receiving a rejection on Dec 17th. Over a year and 2 months since my submission.

I submitted to Strange Chemistry, and am still waiting.

I barely drew. I have dozens of half-finished sketches in my sketchbooks, just waiting to be inked, scanned and coloured, but I can't seem to find the motivation.

I read books, then I read more books. Then I got a Kindle and my personal library has grown at a pace I didn't even know was possible. Then I read more books.

I put away most of my fandom obsessions for good. I no longer have the time, energy or inclination for it that I once had I closed down the fanfiction archives I used to own. The snark that used to be fun and funny is now just ultra-PC, weak and no longer entertaining. I have not updated FRIENDS 4 EVER!!!! in...a long time, but that might change. Also don't be surprised if there's the occasional fanart. There are some things I will always be a fan of.
I tweaked, but there are still some problems.

I attended the wedding of two women in what was the most politically correct, inclusive ceremony I have ever witnessed. It featured Wiccan, First Nations customs, a hand-binding ceremony, and a lot of 'by the law' and 'spirit'. It was rather fascinating, actually. It was very them and both brides looked beautiful and happy.

Christmas happened, and I got a new HD TV, an upgrade from my old boxy SD Insignia TV. I can actually read the menus on the video games I play now.

I played video games, for hours and hours.

Speaking of which, video game milestones included Deadpool, Infamous 2, The Mass Effect Trilogy along with finally beating Br√útal Legend.

As you can see, 2013 was...just another year. It's annoying. I was medically stable all year and got nothing done. Here's hoping 2014 has more to offer.

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